Beauty and the Beast theatrical enchanted rose with falling petals build

Discussion in 'Replica Props' started by fiveliter8, Jul 10, 2015.

  1. fiveliter8

    fiveliter8 Member

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    Hi everyone! I just wanted to share the build of this prop with you all. Our kids recently became involved with the local theaterworks group, which turned out to be just the break I needed to put my prop building to actual use (outside of costuming and personal collection). Being the only one out of about 30 stage techs who raised their hand when the technical director asked who is good with electronics, I was then tasked with building the rose with petals that fall to at least 4 cues. It also had to look 'magical' and, if possible, be remotely operated due to the small size of the stage. Only problem, I was only given a budget of $50! With that, I told them this will be a personal project and I'll eat all the cost and keep the prop after the shows end. So, it begins!

    The first matter of business was finding a dome. It had to be large AND made of plastic. Glass is not allowed as set pieces. I lucked out and found this display on ebay for $15 bucks.
    m-jFVIMImsnVI1w5jXgh33g.jpg
    My lovely prop-maker in-crime made this handle from a drawer pull and some beads.
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    The powers-that-be insisted the rose be as red as possible despite our insistence it be pink as it was in the animated film. We bought two identical roses, one for use by the actors in the opening scene and the other to cannibalize for parts. Here we are sizing up the rose to get an idea of how the remote one should be set.
    IMG_1560.JPG
     
  2. fiveliter8

    fiveliter8 Member

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    The tech director pointed me to a couple of youtube videos where people used wires run through copper tubing to operate the petals. Those were great ideas, but none of them looked like roses! So, I designed a head that uses 1/16" neo magnets bonded to 10lb test fishing line to hold all of the petals. The thought is to use servos to pull the magnets away from the petals to allow them to fall. The head is machined from clear acrylic.
    IMG_7533.JPG

    There are 9 magnets in all and here is the rose with all of the petals connected. Originally, I had magnets on each of the petals, but they were so strong they would sometimes stick to other wires or magnets after being released, so I used tiny metal washers instead, which worked out perfectly!
    IMG_7323.JPG

    This is the mock-up on a piece of plywood to test the concept.
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    It works! :) By-the-way, the stem is 3/16" aluminum tube from the local hobby store.
    IMG_7331.JPG
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2015
  3. fiveliter8

    fiveliter8 Member

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    Here, I'm preparing the base that will be part of the prop. The tube from the stem will be press-fit into this hole. The center hole is for the fishing line to pass through and the smaller one is for the wiring for the lights on the stem.
    IMG_7530.JPG

    Stem installed. The hole in the stem is for the lighting wiring.
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    Stem with head installed.
    IMG_7458.JPG
     
  4. fiveliter8

    fiveliter8 Member

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    Installing the micro servos. I'm using a 6 channel radio, 5 of which will be for petals and 1 for the lighting.
    IMG_7529.JPG

    This prop has 5 servos, 1 electronic speed control for lighting, 2 4-cell battery holders, 1 receiver, and one pink LED strip light.
    IMG_7464.JPG IMG_7465.JPG
     
  5. fiveliter8

    fiveliter8 Member

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    Here is a shot of how small the magnets are. The fishing line is bonded to the magnets using a cyanoacrylate glue.
    IMG_7532.JPG

    Feeding enameled wire through the stem and out the bottom. This will be one of the conductors for the flickering LEDs.
    IMG_7534.JPG IMG_7536.JPG
     
  6. fiveliter8

    fiveliter8 Member

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    I'm now installing very, very thin piano wire to serve as a conductor for the flickering LEDs as well as a mounting point for the same LEDs. They will be mechanically attached to the aluminum tube.
    IMG_7537.JPG IMG_7538.JPG

    Here is the stem (wrapped) with wires and flickering LEDs installed. My partner dipped the LEDs in dark green paint, then, after drying, created a pinhole in the tips of the LEDs to allow pinpoints of flickering light to shine through.
    IMG_7577.JPG
     
  7. Kabeiroi

    Kabeiroi Active Member

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    Amaaaaazing!!!
     
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  8. fiveliter8

    fiveliter8 Member

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    Here is the "finished" rose. At this point, it had already been through 3 shows. The rectangular part on the base is an LED license plate light from a harley davidson which was added due to the stage lighting drowning out the rose while under the dome. The black tape over the strip light was to also try to reduce glare of the strip light transmitting up through the dome.

    IMG_7645.JPG

    You can't tell from the above picture, but the base is raised off of the table using 3 long drywall screws with rubber feet stuck on the heads. I have a black felt paper skirt taped to the base to hide the electronics. This configuration was hard to handle by the stage techs and the skrit was getting crumpled up pretty bad, so I made some changes. I used plywood to extend the base down and covered with the felt paper.
    IMG_7692.JPG IMG_7695.JPG

    I also changed the spot light to one I picked up from superbrightleds. In fact, it was so bright, I had to put black tape to mask, and white tape to diffuse the light. The clear plastic piece is scrap from making the head. It's being used to angle the light toward the rose. In the future, the light will be embedded in the base so it will not be visible.
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    These energizer ultimate lithium batteries lasted through 7 2-hour shows and still have plenty to go!
    IMG_7697.JPG
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2015
  9. fiveliter8

    fiveliter8 Member

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    Here is a video complete with my boring, monotone, sleep-inducing voice, which is why I work behind the scenes in theater! :)

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 8, 2018
  10. fiveliter8

    fiveliter8 Member

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    My next project is getting all of the songs from the show out of my head! lol Thanks for letting me share!
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2015
  11. Arwyniel

    Arwyniel Well-Known Member

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    WOW!!! Very cool build, well done. Love it!!
     
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  12. logan74k

    logan74k Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Hah, got to love when the folks in charge of creative endeavors make questionable changes at the start of a project. "Why red? Because in your mind a rose is red?"

    Well, I'm glad the color change and insulting budget didn't dissuade you from diving in anyway, I love this project! Engineered magic is a favorite subject of mine. I understand what it's like to want so much to make the end result amazing that you have to take it on yourself. Nice solution with the magnets and servos. A shame they couldn't get the dome to work with the stage lights, it looks very nice with the glowing edge lit effect.

    I wonder if you'll take a pink rose and renovate the prop to be 'correct' now that your production is done? Seems like petal work at this stage would be relatively quick and easy, or are you over it so to speak?

    Excellent work man, really dig it.
     
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  13. Miker

    Miker Well-Known Member

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    Wow! Awesome job!! I too am using my love of prop costume set and all things technical to help my kids productions and can only imagine the pride you must have felt seeing your work benefit your kids and their friends!! ( in my case I even got like a weeks worth of no questions from my wife about why I keep so much scrap stuff and old electronics around ;) )

    Questions:
    - does the electronic speed control directly wind up handling the dimming of the lights or did you need to put something in between that...it's an amazing detail!!!

    - how do you reset the magnets? Are they up against a spring or does attraction to the pedals put them back in the "up" (for lack of a better term) position to grab pedal again??
    In other words, do the servos, when triggered, have a stop limit that's in the down position? Or do they make a full revolution?

    - where are you based? (Pm if needed )

    Enjoyed your post and detail tremendously. Thanks for posting.

    P.s. - we don't have a beauty production anywhere in our midst but I just love and admire the process of this kind of clever engineering. My last two were building a super axe hacker ala dr Seuss and an automated mummy tomb...sadly neither of which I documented ;(

    Mike
     
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  14. CatfoodRob

    CatfoodRob Well-Known Member

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    This is the best thread for ages ! Well done . It looks good and is technically challenging .
    A refreshing break from bad foam iron men.
    Be sure to show us your future projects. !!,
     
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  15. Apollo

    Apollo Legendary Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Easily one of the, if not,the best builds here this year!
     
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  16. fiveliter8

    fiveliter8 Member

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    Wow, I am floored by the great comments...thank you all! :) Our family is definitely hooked on the theater scene now, and the next planned production will be a director-written piece involving pirates...YARRRRRRR! Soooo looking forward to what we get to build in that one!
     
  17. nomuse

    nomuse Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Yay, more theater people coming out of the woodwork(ing)! So much to respond to. Your prop looks very elegant, the engineering seems well thought out and I am impressed by your machining clear acrylic (I live in fear of some upcoming lathework in the stuff). I'm also amused and impressed by the various steps you had to go through to get the rose to show up through a reflective dome under harsh stage lighting. Yes, I do design lights for theater -- you ask?

    My biggest question actually comes out of spending a season as a stage carpenter -- aka the guy who tinkers with the set pieces and effects through the run to keep them, well, running. Which is post production, what did you learn? How well did various parts of it stand up to the rigors of production, and what would you do differently?

    Ah, so much to respond to. Miker, I don't know how fiveliter8 did it but a long time ago at Berkeley Rep the trick was to epoxy a rudder servo shaft-to-shaft to a potentiometer. They used that to remote-control a battery-operated storm lantern. As a solution, it does have a certain compelling simplicity! My own most recent escapade was a rather over-complicated XBee link to a high-power LED driver...the big advantage being we could run the transmitter all the way back at the followspot position.

    logan74k, I totally hear you. Couple productions ago, director had me take the nightingales out of the sound backdrop in an evening scene. "Birds don't sing at night!" says said director. Um...nightingales. That's what they do! Heck, it is even in Shakespeare (close of the "balcony" scene from R/J; "'tis the nightingale." "Nay -- 'tis the lark.")

    And, yes, fiveliter, the only good side to working in the business full time is you always have another show to get stuck in your head.

    (I'm also envious you found one of the companies that has figured out that hot glue and string are not the only solution, and are not always the appropriate solution for an effect that needs to work every night and not drive the actors and crew to distraction keeping it working.)
     
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  18. fiveliter8

    fiveliter8 Member

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    That is actually a great idea, and something we hadn't thought of doing. If we get a chance to rent this out, two colors would be a great option! Thanks for the tip! :)
     
  19. fiveliter8

    fiveliter8 Member

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    Mike, the electronic speed control is for a brushed electric radio control motor that connects in the receiver in the 'throttle' position. This particular one actually provides power to the receiver as well as providing control for the lighting. It's rated up to 30 amps, but I'm not even close to that since I'm driving only LEDs.

    The magnets are reset using a small drill bit, rod, or allen wrench (whichever is in my pocket or emergency repair kit at the time) and then the petals are placed at that point. Takes all of 30 seconds to do it. I've spent so much time with this rose I can identify each petal and put it exactly where it goes. I was going to use spring returns, but could not find anything that tiny, plus I would have had to bore the pockets deeper which would require the head to be larger. I'm all about the keeping it simple motto. The limits on the servos are set on the transmitter. It's a pretty nice rig for the price (Spektrum Dx6i) and can store settings for 10 different models. I have it set to where only half of the travel of the sticks allows movement except for the one I use for the dimmer (throttle).

    I'm located in the St. Louis, MO. area.

    Bummer on not documenting. Lucky for me, I'm also a prolific shutterbug and photograph/video EVERYTHING, lol. I totally enjoy seeing all the great stuff you all have been showcasing here! :)
     
  20. fiveliter8

    fiveliter8 Member

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    Excellent questions! The biggest thing I learned is NOT to use putty to cover screws, lol. It makes it a HUGE pain in the butt to strike the set when you can't find the screws! I was also most worried about what the director or set designer would think about what we built and how we built it and found that as long as we put our best effort into it, they were always amazed and satisfied with the finished product. There might be tweaks here and there, but overall not too bad. I would have to guess it's not this way in all situations, and is dependent on what type of director or leads you are working for. Overall, the set pieces the team built held up EXTREMELY well, and everything was constructed with the actors safety in mind. We used a few of the larger pieces in our town's independence day parade on a float, and they held up well for the 2.5 mile run over bumpy roads.

    What I would do differently, especially if I have an important prop used in the show, is to work early with the lighting/sound folks. I wanted the spot light moved to shine from slightly behind the rose, but the lighting tech was adamant about not changing ANY of the cues which were already programmed, which forced me to modify lighting on my prop. It all worked out in the end, with the dome removed for most of the show. Actually, the way the pink strip light glowed, the director thought the dome was still on! :)
     
  21. nomuse

    nomuse Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Heh. This is to me the shame of Tech Week; it is the time when everything is actually in the same room for the first time and there is a chance for the sparks of collaboration and inspiration to be struck. But, alas, there is no time; every theater insists on planning out 12-hour days to start with, leaving them no-where to go for the inevitable missed deadlines. And lights is pretty far downhill; they inherit the results of the missed deadlines of many of the other departments, meaning they are pushed into insane hours just trying to catch up to the old schedule.

    That said, I'd like to think I'd be more flexible. I tend to be the kind of lighting person who respects the other departments and will compromise as necessary. (Perhaps that comes from working so much sound, where no-one realizes or respects that you need time to work and you end up compromising all the time!)

    it takes time, and money, to make scenery and props and effects that stand up to use. A lot of theaters scrimp, and end up paying for it in exasperated cast and staff as every pre-show becomes a round of hasty hot-glue and gaff-tape repairs and every performance a nail-biting nightmare of what will fail next. Sounds like you have a good one. I really, really respect a shop that has the time and the expertise to properly actor-safe a set. Those are the kinds of shops that problem-solve -- that anticipate problems and test things properly in-shop, rather than reach into the bucket of tie line and drywall screws for a "this is good enough" and ship it that way.
     
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  22. Miker

    Miker Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the informative reply. It's great seeing so many folks here that also love the theatrical.

    Nomuse...that shop you describe is one I hope someday to call home!! Respect the deadlines, compromise politely and do as much as humanly possible to make it right.

    It would be cool to have s theater prop section of the rpf! Though I'm sure there are additional forums for it, it's great to know we share additional interests.

    I'll try to document my next challenge and add a post.
    Mike

    Ps - I'm in CT but spent 4 years in St Louis. If any of you tech prop guys are out this way, I want to hang out!
     
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  23. fiveliter8

    fiveliter8 Member

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    Yes, theater prop section would be pretty cool! By the way, I forgot to mention I wound up spending $90 in parts, not including the transmitter and receiver set ($200 when I bought it a few years back).
     
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  24. DRoz

    DRoz New Member

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    I love this! I am directing Beauty and the Beast and we open the show Dec. 1st. Is there any way I could rent or buy one of these from you??? Please contact me so we could work maybe work something out because I would love this for my show but sadly I don't think I could re-make this on my own. I really hope to hear from you soon and thank you!
    Email: D_Roz@yahoo.com
     
  25. glottis

    glottis Active Member

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    That's pretty incredible.
     
  26. Jonliles

    Jonliles New Member

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    Hopefully you see this post, fiveliterv8. your rose and execution of it are amazing!

    I am also making a rose for B&tB with LEDs & remote operation powered by an Arduino Uno. What is the dimension of your acrylic head? I'd like to cast aversion of it out of polyester resin. Can you send dimenions / sketch of the rose head?

    I'm having trouble bonding my 20lb test mono filament to the rare earth magnets. I can't seem to get the cyanoacrylate to set. I've used a couple brands so far without much luck. Any tips?

    Thanks!
     
  27. Miker

    Miker Well-Known Member

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    I did a production last summer with a rented rose (no remote) and one thing we had trouble with was glare from the glass dome. Any downlight on the dome to highlight the moment washed into the effects, and some of the internal uplight also spotted onto the glass giving a glare in audience. I'm wondering if any of you guys ran into this? It almost made us want to create the idea of a dome (el wire outline?) instead of having real done on it. We made due, but worth discussing...
     
  28. RockitScience

    RockitScience Active Member

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    This build is incredible and what a beautiful effect it has in action. Amazing work, thank you for sharing!
     
  29. cavx

    cavx Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I loved the animation version back in the early 1990s and was joyed that they made this live action. Still not been to the cinema to see it, but idea that the rose would be a collectable prop was always in the back of my mind. What you have done takes this to entirely new levels of awesome.

    Amazing build.
     
  30. Gimpdiggity

    Gimpdiggity Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    It doesn't come out until March 17th.
     
  31. cavx

    cavx Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Really? OK. Some friends took their kids to the cinema and posted photos on FaceBook of the kids near a prop rose and display. I *-U-ME d they saw Beauty And The Beast.
    My bad.
     
  32. Gimpdiggity

    Gimpdiggity Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Yeah, it's not out yet. In fact, I THINK the prop roses we are seeing are based on the animated film. I've looked a bit and the only thing I've seen showing the rose for this new film is a shot of the rose under what appears to be a crystal goblet. I'm not sure they've even shown it in its entirety yet, however I could be very mistaken.
     
  33. cavx

    cavx Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Not sure. This is the rose they have on display with an official Disney stand.

    [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

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  34. Gimpdiggity

    Gimpdiggity Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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  35. nwjedidave

    nwjedidave Sr Member

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    VERYYYYYYYYY
    I have three adult daughters that would cry real tears just to have the rose with the flickering lights and the light up base display. INCREDIBLE!
     
  36. Aftstone

    Aftstone New Member

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    Be glad you did not try the return spring idea. I built one and put return springs in it. They worked as planned, and each magnet returned to its placement position after every drop.

    the problem I discovered was that the petals from higher positions did not fully drop but just jumped to the lower now empty magnets. This caused more work of the controls to get the Petal to fully drop.

    I ended up pulling the springs back off.
     
  37. fiveliter8

    fiveliter8 Member

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    I'd love to see how yours came out! Originally, I had magnets on the petals as well and had the exact same problem, so I switched to metal discs on the petals. Have you used yours in a production?
     
  38. Apollo

    Apollo Legendary Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    So how did the Pirate production go?
     
  39. QC Lighting Guy

    QC Lighting Guy New Member

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    I know this is an old post but I'm hoping the creator is still on this site. I'm building a modified version of this idea and I'm a little stuck on the machining of core for the rose head.

    Any details you'd be willing to share? I'm planning on using the magnet release idea like you did.

    thanks,
    Robert
     
  40. fiveliter8

    fiveliter8 Member

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    Hello! Yes, I'm still lurking! What do you need help with? Basically, there is a hole (1/4" if I remember right) half way through the center for the stem to fit into, then 9 other holes drilled from the outside and coming through to the stem hole. The 9 holes are drilled small enough for the fishing line, and are drilled out slightly larger toward the outside of those holes to accommodate the magnets. Hope this helps, and keep us updated on your project!
     
  41. fiveliter8

    fiveliter8 Member

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    Hey! Sorry for the super duper late reply, lol. The show was great! Spent a lot of time on the ship, but nothing technically challenging other than making use of the sparse amount of rope borrowed from another theater. Also, before the original individual who started building the ship was let go, it looked like a viking ship with pointy, curved ends at the bow and stern. I begged and begged to chop them off and finally got the OK to do so once the original designer was out of the picture.

    This picture is shortly after chopping the santa hats off each end.
    ship1.jpg
    Masts raised, bowsprit rigged, rails installed, hatches battened!
    ship2.jpg
    This cannon (along with the masts) were built by the scenery director's husband. Both are amazing artists!
    cannon.jpg
     
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  42. QC Lighting Guy

    QC Lighting Guy New Member

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    Can you give me an idea of how big the core for the Rose head ended up being?
     
  43. fiveliter8

    fiveliter8 Member

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    The head is 1" plastic rod and overall length from base to top is 1.25" long. Hope this helps!
     
  44. Michael ODell

    Michael ODell New Member

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    Hello 5L8!!! Would you mind listing your transmitter, servos, servo board products? Trying to get this done the same way. Also, did you need to program anything, a la Arduino?
    Thanks man! Nice work!
    Michael
     
  45. propmaster2000

    propmaster2000 Sr Member

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    fiveliter8,
    That was a really good project back then.
    They were lucky to get you to work on it.

    By the way, is that a broken drill bit in the acrylic? DOH!
    I hate it when that happens :)

    upload_2018-11-29_5-29-47.png

    .
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2018
  46. propmaster2000

    propmaster2000 Sr Member

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    After reading about your Animatronic Rose and having the petals fall off on Que, I wanted to try my hand
    at designing a quick release "center" that would hold and drop off individual petals one at a time and be
    3D printed. Always looking to print on my printer.

    It is designed to hold 9 petals (3 on each level) but in the video snippet, I show one petal on each of the three levels
    to give a sense of how it works.
    My version will use simple solenoids to pull briefly on the individual fishing lines. One line for each petal.
    This is only a mock up to show proof of concept.



    Thanks for watching.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2018

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